Any benefits from alkanolamide free (no Cocamide, Oleamide, Lauramide) formulations?

Why are some some formulations specially advertised as being alkanolamide free?
What's so special about it?
Any real benefits?

I read that alkanolamides may lower the peak viscosity (although they move the salt curve to the left), Prop 65 and other scaremongering.
From personal experience 1.5% Cocamide DEA causes stickiness and stringy flow.
(never read that mentioned elsewhere)


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    The industry moved away from DEA products back in the late 1990's due to concern about nitrosamines causing cancer. This was overblown and there is zero evidence that products like Cocamide DEA should be of any concern in cosmetics, but contrary to suggestions by various NGOs, when an ingredient is tainted with bad press, the Cosmetic Industry generally moves away from it if there are suitable alternatives.
  • Thanks @Perry . When reading your replies I always keep on looking for the Like button.

    Did you notice any worse performance in formulations without them?
    Did you notice any sticky afterfeel from cocamide DEA at 1%+ ?
  • DASDAS Member
    Cancer free ain't a bad marketing campaign. Although it's never been prooved that causes cancer on humans.

    It's a great product. Economic, no heat required, great increase in viscosity at low concentration. The quality is very important. I remember having issues like turbidity and even phase separation. It's hard to know if you are buying it pure or a blend with sunflower or soy. Buy from big brands only and sealed container and you will see the difference.

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Gunther - It took some time but we eventually got a formula that matched our DEA containing formula. Originally, the VO5 Shampoo used Lauramide DEA to great effect until we switched to Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

    No, I don't recall a sticky afterfeel from Cocamide DEA.

  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    the only time DEA and its derivatives can form nitrosamines are when they're combined with nitrosating agents, e.g. bronopol or sodium nitrite; the former is rarely used in cosmetics these days, and the latter is virtually unknown (it's limited to food)

    in the late 80s, one of my former employers had shampoos with cocamide DEA and bronopol that would literally turn black over time due to nitrosamine formation and oxidation
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Bill_Toge I remember having this issue some 13 years back and we had the same combination or DEA with Germall 115. Sadly after that DEA has become a universal villain with people taking it for granted that DEA in formulation means nitrosamines. I am yet to find a conclusive study where it is clearly mentioned that DEA itself alone is responsible for such occurrence. 
Sign In or Register to comment.